Everyone is different…so why not teach differently? Identifying your child's learning strengths will help you tailor your teaching in a way that best fits each one of your children. When I first started to research this topic, I found that everyone has a different name for the different learning types. I’ll keep it simple and just talk about the three main learning types, which most people fall into: Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic.
Most people fall into these three categories; however, if your child has trouble learning and you’re concerned, then researching your child's learning style extensively will help you to better understand the problems they’re having. There are links on the resource pages for parents who feel that they need to have more information on this topic to help them with their child's learning difficulties. Otherwise here are the basics regarding the three different learning styles and a quick and effective learning style quiz to help you decide which one you and your child fall into.
Visual learners have many of these strengths:
- Learn best by seeing, or watching others do something before they try it themselves.
- Have creative imaginations and love to draw colorful or detailed pictures.
- May seem to be daydreamers.
- May have good handwriting.
- Have an easy time remembering people's faces, but have a hard time with names.
- Have a strong preference for Art rather than Music.
- Tend to be meticulous with their work.
- May need to have an organized environment to be productive.
- Do better with the "Look-then-say" approach to learning to read.
- See the details of something before they see the whole.
- May feel that reading about something is a very effective way to learn something new.
Visual Learners make up an estimated 60-65% of the US population.
Auditory learners have many of these strengths:
- Learn best by listening to instructions before they try it themselves./li>
- May be more social.
- Have strong vocabularies.
- Will often be found talking to themselves when they’re working on a task.
- They benefit more from the phonics-based method of learning to read.
- May be easily distracted by noise around them.
- Have a strong preference for Music rather than Art.
- Have the desire to mix and match colors and patterns in their wardrobe, in the name of fashion.
- Have a great eye for color.
- Do better with the phonics approach to learning to read.
Auditory Learners make up an estimated 15-20% of the US population.
Kinesthetic learners have many of these strengths:
- Have a great knack for taking things apart and putting them back together.
- May be good dancers.
- Love to be moving, going, and doing.
- Don’t like to sit still for long.
- They’ll tend to fidget and touch things constantly.
- Have strong spelling skills.
- Will touch or grab you to get your attention.
- Excel rapidly in most sports.
- Learn best if they are involved directly in whatever is being done.
- Love to do models or build anything.
- Have to be involved in every activity.
Kinesthetic Learners make up an estimated 15-20% of the US population.
One very important thing to remember about learning types is that the younger the child is the more kinesthetic they are. All children, or most I should say, begin as kinesthetic learners. They absorb what is around them and are more interested in touching, feeling, and seeing things rather than reading directions. Everyone who has had a toddler, especially a boy, knows exactly what I am talking about! As your child matures they may develop into visual or auditory learners, or they might maintain kinesthetic traits. Most of the population is visual; however, we are all unique in every way, especially in how we learn. Finding your child's learning strengths will help you to unlock their potential and give you an opportunity to take their education to a higher level.
Teaching in the Younger Years
In the younger years, minimize the seatwork, and avoid workbooks at almost all costs. Read lots of great books together; go outside and explore; do math in the car, the grocery store, or while cooking in kitchen. Use the world as your classroom. Remember that boys do develop their fine motor skills a little later than girls, so be patient with handwriting. A veteran homeschooler that I met was in the process of homeschooling six year old twin boys. A handful, I’m sure! She clued me in on the importance of not letting their ability (or inability) to write pages of numbers hinder their math and other subjects, so they do it on the white board together!
Be flexible with your child's inabilities and know that they’ll catch up. The average child in Europe isn't taught how to read until they are seven years old. It's okay to start your children out slow in the beginning. Let your child have fun and be a kid without turning everything into a lesson. Children will learn from their environment, if you let them. Remember what Alberst Einstein said: "Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school."
Learning Style Quiz
Here is a quiz of fifteen questions that we’ve created to help you identify both your learning strengths and your child's. Reassessing your child's learning strengths on an annual basis will keep you updated on their forever-changing personalities. It's wonderful to know that this is nothing like public school and you can tailor your teaching and materials to your children's current learning style and individual personality. By taking the adult portion of this quiz, you’ll be able to see the differences and similarities between you and your children. Everyone's learning style is as different as his or her personality. When discovering your child's learning style you'll find both weakness and strength. Be sure to use this knowledge as the tool it's meant to be.
Good Luck & Happy Homeschooling!